|Veniana Qoro, middle, flanked by Mohammed Fazil, left, and Shazia Nisha with Sailosi Naiteqe (back left),||Adi Marica Nai and Alumeci Liku in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH|
Fiji Times News
A NADI chief has opened up his heart and home to two young street kids of Indian descent.
The Fiji Times caught up with Tui Nawaka Ratu Manasa Qoro Naevo and his wife, Veniana Qoro, and their adopted "grandchildren" Mohammed Fazil, 10, and his eight-year-old stepsister, Shazia Nisha at their farm house at Malomalo in Nadi. Mrs Qoro said the two children had been under her care for the last six months and were now part of the family.
She said they all lived at the chiefly residence in Nawaka and had been supported well by the villagers.
"They used to stay with their de facto parents but have been left to beg on the streets for survival most times," said Mrs Qoro. "I was at home in our farm house when my daughter told me that a mother and her two children were looking for a place to sleep, so I allowed them to sleep at home and that was the beginning of our encounter. "Few weeks later, they again approached me wanting to spend the night with us as they don't have a permanent place to stay. "I really sympathised with the kids and this was one of the reasons I wanted to look after them, to support their education then to return them to their families once they secure employment."
Mrs Qoro said the children had been enrolled at Saint Andrews Primary School. "I am so glad that my husband, the Tui Nawaka, agreed to my request of supporting these children. "We look after their education, we drop them in the morning and in the afternoon we pick them up and we also provide them with everything we give our real grandchildren. "It is unusual for a commoner to enter the chiefly compound in Nawaka, even the village kids are told by their parents not to enter the chiefly compound anyhow unless authorised because it is against our culture. We are so thankful to the villagers for supporting these two kids. They are now residing with us and they don't want to go back to their families."
Fazil is known as Simi and Nisha is referred to as Sema.
Mrs Qoro said the children are encouraged to continue being a Muslim and to follow their religious protocol. "We don't allow them to eat pork because we want to make sure they respect their tradition and faith." When asked if they wanted to return to their families, the children stated they were comfortable in their new home. "This is home to us because we are loved and cared by Tai and likewise all other family members. We are treated like all other kids in the family," said Fazil. "When the other kids get new clothes, we are also given the same and we thank Tai for providing shelter and love. "We will not forget them and we are hoping to repay their love once we grow up."
Nisha said she wanted to be a policewoman when she grew up and to buy a house for her mother. "But I want to stay with Tai all through my life," she added.
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